Vienna Vibes Audio Fest
Inspired by the great audio gatherings in Munich and Berlin in the last three years, we set up a similar event in Austria. All of our international audio friends were waiting for us to finally organize such a festival, so we (the Austrian vinyl and triode amp lovers Alexander, David, Josef and I) made a firm commitment to host the first Vienna Vibes Audio Event in early July 2010.
Thanks to Alexander's girlfriend, Gerlinde, we found the perfect place for the venue, which was the Bundesfinanzakademie in Vienna's 3rd district, close to Vienna's center. A toast to Gerlinde for helping us to get this possibility! Also, a big thank you to the Bundesfinanzakademie (BFA) for hosting 45 audio maniacs and to the bistro of the BFA for the delicious food.
By the way, I hope to convince Gerlinde one day to come up with her views on our "sometimes crazy" audio hobby here on my website, so stay tuned to hopefully encounter the opinion of a smart and perceptive woman about our beloved hobby. ;-)
The Vienna Vibes turned out to be a great event with wonderful spirit and atmosphere, mainly because of the good mood of the participants attending this festival.
Although Vienna showed itself from the "hottest" side (30+ degrees Celsius on all of the 3 days), and there was no air conditioning in the venue place, we had a terrific time together.
We enjoyed the good acoustics, nice music, great beer, good food and interesting chats, and so had low amounts of sleep all through the Vibes festival. It was definitely fun playing music on our systems every day until the early morning hours.
Schroeder's direct drive TT with Ortofon, Schroeder and Schick TAs plus SPUs
Ulbrich's 2A3 mono
block magic :-)
There was no clear winner as some preferred direct drive without eddy-current brake for the platter, and others the belt drive with tape. The whole demo was highly interesting and fun. Thanks a lot, Frank! :-)
On Saturday, we also tried Bernhard Kistner's TT with special drive system and a Shreve-Rabco tangential tone arm. Cartridge was a Supex, as I recall a SDX 1000 MC cartridge. As David C Shreve was also participating in our festival, he and Bernhard carefully set the TT, and this was definitely worth it. Thanks to the new drive system Bernhard had implemented into the TT quite recently, the TT and arm and cartridge combination truly sang. I've never heard this TT perform so well. This was truly a world-class combination and sounded superb with all kinds of music.
the back, excellent Martin Kueng line-stage, mono
power-amps and DAC (all in black) as well as great sounding DIY tube
phono-stage from Bernd Uecker (blue chassis)
One of the highlights of the Vienna Vibes was, of course, the tube amp magic of Thomas Mayer. He brought to the festival his superb LCR RIAA phono, built around the 6AM4 triode, his new universal DHT line stage plus SE DHT power amps with 45 as well as 801A output tubes. Connected to David Haigner's Tau and using David's Platine Verdier with SME 3012 tonearm and my Shelter 501 II as source, musical pleasure was guaranteed. Thomas also performed a comparison of various DHT tubes with the special line stage he had built to demo the first time at our Vienna Vibes festival.
comparison of some of the most valued DHTs in a line stage was truly
awesome. We had the chance to listen to and compare the 12A, super
vintage UX-201A, 26, VT-25 / 10, VT-62 / 801A in one line
stage. That was, as far as I am aware, the first time such a
comparison of these venerable triodes in a line stage has publicly
happened. A world premier, thanks a lot Thomas!
Gorgeous, aren't they...
To my ears, the VT-25 and VT-62 - both Tungsten filament DHTs - were the winners for the most musical but also the truest reproduction of the music played. For blues music though, the oldest tube, the UX-201A won my heart as the sound was as "dirty" and "bluesy" as it gets. Ok, this tube adds a little bit too much to the sound to be my choice for jazz or classical music, but for Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Etta James, etc. and especially acoustic Delta Blues, this is the tube to go for. ;-)
Lesson learned: For most of my music, a preamplifier with VT-25 or VT-62 would be ideal. For my beloved blues, hey let's get a preamp with these UX-201As and dig into all these old recordings!
Friday and Saturday late evening, Alexander, the jazz connoisseur within our Viennese audio circle, was DJ for our guests. He dug deep into his amazing jazz collection for two vinyl-playing sessions called " Gems of Jazz on Vinyl". He picked wonderful records among them:
You think that was all? No way. We had more highlights at the Vibes, thanks to our Austrian loudspeaker guru David Haigner. David did two great and informative lectures on horn loudspeakers and room acoustics.
lecture on room acoustics which David gave on Saturday was highly
informative. By moving back and forth in the room and also to the
room corners he demonstrated - just using his speaking voice - the
weak points of our 40 sqm demo room. The resonant room modes colored
his voice quite strongly, especially when he was near the room
corners. Then, we placed some diffuser/absorber-elements which David
had constructed, taking into account the room dimensions. We all were
quite surprised by how his voice sounded different. Also, when
walking into the room corners, his voice sounded mainly as uncolored
as in the better areas of the room (i.e. about 1/5 of the room length
and width away from rear and side wall).
The music examples played afterwards with and without room treatment, showed the difference in sound as well. With room treatment the sound was more natural, there was better bass definition and no wooly bass performance anymore. Lesson learned: Choosing absorber- and diffuser elements with care and knowledge is a worthwhile improvement to one's listening room. Wholeheartedly recommended!
we had a lecture by David C Shreve on setting the proper VTA for a
chosen arm and cartridge combination. David is nicknamed "Mr.
VTA," and deservedly so. David showed how to find a really good
VTA setting in no time by listening to a record with a well-recorded
acoustic bass sequence. He mainly uses one particular track of an LP
(Flying Fish HDS 701) for this task. Within three to four height
adjustments of the arm/cartridge combination, and listening carefully
to some seconds of this acoustic bass track, one could really hear
quite big differences and find the audibly superior position - as
David called it "the average" - VTA adjustment.
Here are some more cool photos of the participants and gear capturing the great atmosphere:
we also had beer :-)
Norbert, the happy owner of a - not yet finished - but truly world-class loudspeaker
PS: If you want to see wonderful photo impressions of Vienna and the Vibes, please visit Thomas Schick's site.
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